Amid the heavy snow and cold one winter in southeastern B.C.’s mountains where Tom Wayman lives, he happened to reread the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s posthumous volume Winter Garden in translation. Wayman decided to write a series of poems in response to a phrase, image, or entire poem of the Nobel laureate’s. Wayman’s series ranges across memory and the present, coastal and inland settings, and metaphorical as well as literal winters. The delights and despair of a love affair gone wrong, vivid recollections of social protest in the steady Vancouver winter rain, and the beauty of experiencing ski trails along the Slocan River are all part of Winter’s Skin. “I do not ask to be winter’s tongue,” the poet writes,
…I ask only
to take the minutes
of the meeting between the season
And the poet finds much to praise and to wonder at as he moves through the chill air and ubiquitous white of the wooded ridges and valleys he calls home.